10/10/07 – Australian reds

By Jesse on October 10, 2007


Whenever Andrew “I love Clifford” Lang hosts the meeting, he likes his wine like he likes his dogs: big and red.  With that in mind, we return to an old haunt — what better place to find affordable full-bodied red varietals than Australia?  Lets talk about the important ones…

Shiraz is to Australia “what cabernet sauvignon is to Bordeaux — an icon.”  For those still struggling with the metaphor, try this one that I made up: it’s “what J.J. is to Good Times.”  Can you imagine Good Times without J.J.?  Didn’t think so.  Similarly, Shiraz has been essential to Australia ‘s success and recognition as a major wine nation.  Wine Bible: “the best of them have almost syrupy plum, boysenberry, mocha and violet flavors, with hints of spice and black pepper.  By comparison, they are much more saturated with fruit than their parents, the syrahs of the Rhone.”  The Syrah tasting on Friday was great (sorry the e-mail went out late) and I hope to replicate that success on Wednesday.

Cabernet Sauvignon — Despite the success and centrality of Shiraz, top Cabernets are often still considered Australia’s best wine.  The really good ones “combine the gripping structure of a Bordeaux with all the copious, palate-coating fruit of grapes grown under generous sun.”  Also, as in Bordeaux, the Aussies are fond of blending Merlot into come of their Cabs, so look for that on the label.

Blends — Besides Cab and Merlot, Australia’s producers enjoy blending all kinds of things.  Cabernet and Shiraz aren’t really blended anywhere else in the world, but you’ll find them in Australia.  Also look for Rhone Blends, which will take the Shiraz and throw in some Grenache and Mourvedre.

We’ll be meeting at Andrew’s air-conditioned apartment in H’woodville.  Bring a nice Australian red and some tasting notes or a $10 donation.  Be there promptly at 9:00.  I know I will.